These Surreal Indian Festival Photos Reveal a Huge Environmental Problem

A man rows a boat in Yamuna River.

A man rows a boat in Yamuna River.
Photo: Altaf Qadri (AP)

The Yamuna, which stretches 855 miles (1,376 kilometers) through northern India, is the longest tributary of the Ganges River. It’s also one of the most polluted rivers in the world, thanks in part to its path through New Delhi, the capital of India, which sits upstream of much of the river’s route. A government monitoring committee for the river estimates that the city is responsible for 76% of the pollution in the river, despite only 2% of the river’s length running through the city itself.

All this stress has taken a toll on the Yamuna. “The river in Delhi’s stretch is an ecologically dead river,” Bhim Singh Rawat, from the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, told CNN. “It doesn’t have fish or fresh water birds. That has been the case for years now.”